This week’s AEW Dynamite offered up a real doozy of a match between two of the company’s best female talents, Hikaru Shida vs. Britt Baker.
The match starts with Baker evading Shida until the two exchange shoves. Baker takes Shida to the turnbuckle but Shida powers out and goes for a dropkick but Baker evades once again.
Britt grounds and pounds before choking Shida in the turnbuckle, which is then followed by a running kick to the face for another 2 count. Shida ends up in the ropes, which Baker chokes her with, followed by another kick to the head. As Shida lay groggy on the apron, Baker sits down gloating, taunting and laughing right into Shida’s face and then to the camera. Shida takes advantage of Baker’s arrogance and boots her in the stomach and a hits a “fan” assisted draping knee strike followed by a suplex over the barricades to the floor.
Back in the ring, Shida hits another big suplex for the count of 2. Baker then counters a running knee attempt from Shida into a roll-up but Shida counters with a head-scissor submission.
Baker recovered to hit a sling blade and butterfly suplex for a very close 2 count. Baker would continue the attack with a side Russian leg sweep and a Lock-Jaw submission attempt.
The two would trade forearm strikes, which would result in a bloody nose for Baker. Shida would hit a falcon arrow for the 2 count. Baker transitioned the kick out into the Lock Jaw and as the blood run down her face Baker screamed to the referee for his surgical gloves before she would apply the mandible claw.
The delay would allow Shida to escape and execute a beautifully violent knee strike to the face. Baker countered Shida’s falcon arrow attempt and hit a swinging neck breaker followed by a sidekick to the face. Covered in blood and basking in the limelight Baker, manically gloating over Shida’s prone body was a sight behold.
Heel tendencies in full flow, Baker would go the rope-assisted move that she hit on Yuka Sakazaki caused her to lose a tooth, but Shida would counter and finish off the doctor with a running knee for the victory.
A really great and hard-fought match in which the competitors both received and dished out some brutal offence. Baker looked especially good here and it is clear she has been working very hard to improve in the ring. Shida was her usual consistent self despite the errant elbow that caught Baker’s nose. The blood actually added to the physically and intensity of the match and made for a great visual.
Baker’s broken nose looked nasty and very painful but she didn’t sell it at all. In fact, she used it to her advantage to showcase the new maniacal aspects of her character, which is a great addition to her persona.
Great work and a great match.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
This is now the 10th week in which Shida resides at the top of the women’s rankings system. This was also the second week in which Shida took more offence than she dished out. While it may seem odd to see the number one contender struggle against “lesser” opponents but there is a method in the madness. With a match against AEW Women’s Champion, Nyla Rose on the horizon AEW wants to show Shida’s ability to stand a barrage punishment and still get the victory. This is the perfect way to build Shida up as a skilled and tenacious challenger.
Winner: Britt Baker
We hadn’t seen Baker in the ring for a while and she hadn’t missed a step. Baker was smooth and fluid in the ring and her heelwork has improved immensely. Baker has really found her calling in this role and she is excelling in it. Her persona and interviews are so good that she is now featured on the show every week. The featured spots that Baker has been placed in provide us with an indication that AEW is positioning her to be one of the focal points of the division. This position is perfect for Baker as she can bring further exposure and relevance to the women’s division outside of the championship challenge.
One of the best women’s matches we’ve seen on AEW Dynamite in a while and a good indication that the division is on the right path in-ring and character development-wise.
With access to only limited amount of the roster due to travel limitations this is a great opportunity for AEW to build up the characters and recognition of a those in attendance. Baker has already gained from this and with newcomer Anna Jay, and Penelope Ford seemingly available they could and should benefit also.
What did you make of the match? Let us know below and as alway stay tuned to Diva Dirt for all of your AEW news and reviews.